Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


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Taste for Truth

Usually my blog is all about my manclan and our adventures, but for the next 7 weeks, I will be using my blog as an avenue to share about the progress, frustration, and completion of a 30 day weight loss Bible study that I’m leading and following with some ladies from my church. Ever since I had Weston, I’ve spent every second of every day miserable because of the amount of weight I gained, the toll being on 8 weeks of bed rest took on my body, and the battle of relentlessly trying to remain motivated enough to lose the weight. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know how to lose the weight. The problem was not being able to keep it off. In order to keep weight off, it requires more than diet and exercise. It requires a renewing of our minds, which is where Taste for Truth comes in.

   
 Yesterday began week one of this journey. The first chapter pointed out our need to stay in God’s Word and to specifically pray for the spiritual fruit of self-control during this process. We also saw in Genesis 1 that God has provided us with everything we need to eat. So, fresh fruits and vegetables and organic meats that he has given us dominion over are what we should be eating. We were also reminded that if we follow our role of staying in His Word and praying for self-control, He will break the stronghold that food has over us. It’s going to be a renewal from the inside out.  

 Generally, weight loss has more to do with vanity than an actual desire to be healthy and instill healthy habits in our children. How we choose to eat as adults is a learned behavior, and sadly, being healthy was not promoted when I was growing up, but that change can begin now with Adam and I setting the example for our children as to what are wise and unwise choices when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. Every difficult circumstance I’ve ever faced in life has required reliance on God. This is no different. It’s wonderful to know that we serve a God that loves us enough to care even about the smallest aspects of our life such as losing weight and being healthy.  

 Our assignment this week was to keep a food diary, which I prefer using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone, because it pulls the calories in each item from the Internet, and it also gives you a warning when a certain item is high in sugar or carbohydrates, and it also shows you a pie chart at the end of the day of which meal you ingested your largest number of calories. Overall, it’s far more helpful than using a notebook to track your eating. We will also bring in a healthy recipe each week to trade with a friend in the class, which encourages us to connect as young women that are all busy working, raising our children, being wives, and trying to lose weight. Spending time in His Word and praying specifically for self-control and renewal of our minds were the main points on our “to-do list” this week. 

I’m so thankful for these precious friends that are willing to take this journey with me. I’m humbled that my Jesus would choose me to lead this study, and I’m so thankful that He loves me enough to care about what I eat and how much I eat. I’m eager in anticipation for the transformation that He is going to give us from the inside out. As one of my friends mentioned yesterday, this summer we can take a girls trip to the beach and not be ashamed to take a group selfie! Let’s do it, girls! I love you ladies, and I’m so excited to be sharing this journey with you! I’m ready to be my healthiest me for not only my Lord but also for my husband, children, and most of all, myself.

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All You Need is Love

In the words of the Beatles, “All You Need is Love.” How true that is. It’s amazing how one thoughtful gesture, a kind word, or simply being in the same room with people you love can change your entire day. February 14, 2016, was an absolutely wonderful day. Sure, there are those who dislike Valentine’s Day, but truthfully, that’s a problem within themselves that keeps them from celebrating an entire day dedicated to love. Heck, love is the entire reason for our existence. We were created by a loving God to share His love to ALL people. 

  In true Adam Nichols fashion, he surprised me with my most favorite things…..fresh-cut roses and green tea. I drink a cup of hot, green tea every morning, and I try to always keep fresh-cut flowers in my living room all year. They just make the room brighter, and they help set an atmosphere in your home. I love that he showers me with the little things that mean so much to me.😘 I gave Adam a shirt from his favorite clothing store, S Brannon Clothing, and it was even orange and blue! Now, that’s true love! HA! I know receiving clothes is not what most men like, but due to the few times Adam has received high-quality, new clothing in his life, he has made it known that this is one of his most favorite gifts to receive.

    
 My smokin  hot hubby wore his new shirt, and I got all dolled up for our Sunday school class’ annual Valentine’s Day dinner. Our buddies, Brittney and Jonathan, hosted the event again this year. It is always the best social of the entire year. Everyone brings a side dish or dessert, and Brittney and Jonathan provide the meat, and we have the most amazing meal with lights dimmed and 90’s love songs softly playing in the background (Boyz II Men and Keith Sweat are sure to get you in the mood for mommy-daddy time when you get home)😂👍🏻😍. We always end the night with an ever-interesting Newlywed Game! It is absolutely hilarious, and we learn more about our Sunday school family than imaginable! 

    
    
 Ashley, my sister, aka, the best aunt in the entire world, babysat Weston for us THE ENTIRE NIGHT!!!! She took him to the park, the food court, and 7 rounds on the carousel. 🎠 He got to lie in her bed and drink juice boxes and eat cookies, and on Sunday morning, he enjoyed cinnamon rolls in bed before getting ready for church. Ashley always spent time like this with Banks when he was little, and she was so excited to be able to start this tradition with Weston. This act of love showed love to not only Weston but also to Adam and myself. Both Banks and Weston adore their Aunt Ash, and it’s not hard to see why. She’s invested in their lives and makes them a priority. We are blessed to have her. 

 Banks spent the weekend with his youth group at the Lift Tour. He heard some great speakers over the weekend, and he thoroughly enjoyed the contemporary worship with thousands of youth from the Dothan/Wiregrass area. I’m so thankful that he wasn’t bogged down in the superficial love that so many teenagers fall victim to, but yet he was experiencing the most wonderful love of all….God’s love for His children. 

I am so incredibly thankful for the love my husband has for me and I have for him, the love we have for our children, the love our family members have for us and our boys, the love found in the wonderful friendships of our Sunday school class, and most importantly, the love our Savior shows to us daily through His grace, mercy, and kindness. All you need is love to make a difference.❤️


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Super Bowl, Sensational Youth, and Brisket

Well, our first gathering utilizing our outdoor television was a success! We invited all of the youth and college kids from our church to watch the Super Bowl. 

    
   The game was excellent as the always humble Peyton Manning and the Broncos walked away with the well-deserved win. While the football was excellent, the group gathered in our home was far better! If you provide food, youth will come! They love to eat, and we love to open our home to this amazing group of young people. So often in churches today, the congregation loses sight of the responsibility we have to train these kids and show them love. Sadly, they are viewed as loud, a disruption, a hindrance, and disrespectful. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my experiences with young people, they are full of excellent ideas, eager to help, energetic, and most importantly, they long to be loved and want to learn from us. There are many things we can learn from them as well.
During the halftime show, we gathered in the living room and sang praise choruses and had an excellent time of devotion led by our youth pastor. He spoke about the endurance and dedication that goes into preparing for a game of this magnitude, but in the end, our lives would not be any different on Monday due to which team won or lost, but knowing and having a relationship with God is life-changing. It changes how you approach trials, how you live everyday, and most importantly, it changes your eternity! It was an absolute blast, and I hope we can host this event for many more years to come.

   
 Just to brag on my husband a minute, we had told the kids to bring desserts or drinks, and we would provide the meal. Well, we considered a few different meal options, but Adam really wanted to use our smoker. So we purchased a brisket, and he smoked it for approximately 8 hours at about 150-200 degrees. We came home from church Sunday, and the entire neighborhood smelled absolutely amazing! After allowing it to rest for an hour, it was so tender, flavorful, and juicy. It was awesome! We had dinner rolls, and the kids made brisket sliders served with chips, dip, and a slough of other delicious treats. We will definitely be smoking another brisket sometime soon.

I hope you all have an amazing week and a happy Valentine’s Day. Next week I will share with you all how we celebrated this great day of love! Thanks for reading!